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American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist Dr. Pablo Garcia: Why we need to continue the movement of “Health care for all”

As a health care provider, it’s a challenge when your patients receive inconsistent access to care because you want to provide the best care to them. We need to continue the movement of “Health care for all.” I had the pleasure of interviewing Pablo Garcia, MD, a nephrology fellow at Stanford University in California who was […]


As a health care provider, it’s a challenge when your patients receive inconsistent access to care because you want to provide the best care to them. We need to continue the movement of “Health care for all.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pablo Garcia, MD, a nephrology fellow at Stanford University in California who was recently distinguished as an American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellow. Dr. Garcia received his medical school degree in 2012 from the University of San Carlos in his home country of Guatemala and underwent clinical training in internal medicine at Rutgers/Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Jersey before joining Stanford’s fellowship program. He is especially passionate about studying chronic kidney disease in settings where patients have limited access to medical care, drugs and other resources.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path as a doctor or healer?

My interest in nephrology goes hand-in-hand with my research experience. While working on a project related to chronic kidney disease in my home country of Guatemala, I had exposure to hundreds of patients with kidney disease. That experience made it very clear to me how difficult it is for patients to have kidney disease in a place where there is not a strong health care infrastructure. I also discovered how poor the quality of life was for these patients and their families, alike.

During my residency in New Jersey, I cared for multiple patients with chronic kidney disease and saw how challenging it is for them to navigate the system, to learn about kidney disease, to understand their own disease and to make decisions related to their care. All these experiences reinforced my passion for nephrology.

How have your personal challenges informed your career path?

Since I was little, I have enjoyed listening to people’s stories. I used to sit down for hours to chat with people I found on the bus stop, etc. While I was in high school, I remember an experience when I visited a nursing home with my classmates. I met this elderly person who was living there. We spent hours talking about how he was a big Albert Hitchcock fan and we watched his favorite film, North by Northwest. Next week while we all talked about our experience, I realized that of all my friends, I engaged the most with the people living there. Later my school advisor asked me if I thought about medicine or psychology as a career. While I was a medical student, I found this to be a handy quality because as physicians, to help our patients we must learn every detail about their lives.

Since then, I have seen multiple patients with limited, inconsistent access to health care facilities and professionals. This is something I care deeply about and something that I hope to be able to do something about in my career. I’m taking a closer look at chronic kidney disease of unknown origin and some of its precursors in young, healthy people in Latin America.

Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors/clinicians/healers to help their patients to thrive?

· Always understand a patients’ context to get to know them very well.

· Ask your patients about their family, kids, parents, friends, dreams and goals in life.

· Have the mantra that patients always come first.

· Try to motivate patients on every clinical visit.

· Strive to improve quality of care for a patient at every visit.

Social media and reality TV create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work? Can you explain?

More transparency about your personal story can help as social media is an essential tool for communication to provide patient education. It’s important to mention that even if you are sharing your personal story you always have to be professional.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?

“The very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it,” by Sir William Osler, who is frequently described as the father of modern medicine. I really like this quote because it applies to what we as health care workers do. It’s a complicated job, but we love what we do, we have a passion for our job, and we enjoy doing our job.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

As a healthcare provider, it’s a challenge when your patients receive inconsistent access to care because you want to provide the best care to them. We need to continue the movement of “Health care for all.”

How can our readers follow you on social media?

On twitter as @PabloGarciaMD — https://twitter.com/PabloGarciaMD

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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